Four debuts albums made my 20 Favorites of 2013 list with the English duo Fossil Collective landing the highest placement. After their previous band Vib Gyor parted ways, David Fendick and Jonny Hooker formed Fossil Collective and went in a new musical direction. They released two EP's last year that caught my attention with their take on folk-pop, songs that are swimming in gorgeous harmonies. Drawing influences from the likes of Neil Young, Simon and Garfunkel and more recent acts like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, Tell Where I Lie served as an amazing debut full length.
The title tracks from both of their 2012 EP's carry over onto this full length. "Let It Go" is the song that intrigued me to check out more from this band so no complaints from me that it appears here as well. That leaves nine more songs to explore and there is truly not a bad one in the bunch. Most are built around an acoustic guitar and bathed in lovely string arrangements. But it is the vocal harmonies that knock me out every time. "Under My Arrest" goes into another dimension once the chorus starts and their voices intertwine. "When Frank Became An Orb" starts with nothing but swooning "Oohs" for the first minute with a slight acoustic guitar accompaniment and then bursts into one of the album's best tracks.
Words will fail to do justice to the sparse beauty of "Monument", an absolutely stunning song. Although there is acoustic guitar and some electric as well, the song is carried by the falsetto vocal duet and brings about an atmosphere of tranquility as you listen. One of the prettiest songs I heard all year. At just over seven minutes, "The Magpie" is another standout. It starts as a finger picked guitar track before it stops halfway through for a keyboard segment that leads to echoed vocal harmonies over a lone drum beat. The song then concludes with an explosion of live drums, electric guitars and ambient keyboards added to the mix, a sign of the willingness to break from a formula you wouldn't blame these two for sticking to.
The duo released another EP called The Water late in the year, a sign they aren't running out of quality tunes any time soon. But Tell Where I Lie is where you should start your introduction to Fossil Collective. It's flawless.
Favorite tracks: "Monument", "Under My Arrest", "When Frank Became An Orb", "Let It Go"
Tell Where I Lie was released in the U.S. July 9, 2013 via the Dirty Hit label.